Julian, look out

Daniel Ellsberg, who knows a thing or two about leaks, fears for Julian Assange’s safety. I do to. Our president has announced that he believes in extra-judicial assassination, and that such action is OK when taken against terrorists, now just couple that with the doctrine that terrorists are those who disagree with the USA administration, and basically anything goes.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former US military analyst who released the pentagon papers in 1971, appeared on MSNBC today with Dylan Ratigan.  He said he fears for the safety of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who is reportedly on the verge of leaking secret State Department cables.  The Daily Beast reports that Assange is currently being sought by the Pentagon, and Ellsberg advises him not to reveal his whereabouts.

“We have after all for the first time, that I ever perhaps in any democratic country, we have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad, that he thinks is associated with terrorism,” says Ellsberg. “Now as I look at Assange’s case, they’re worried that he will reveal current threats. I would have to say puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now. And I say that with anguish. I think it’s astonishing that an American president should have put out that policy and he’s not getting these resistance from it, from Congress, the press, the courts or anything. It’s an amazing development that I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.”

Full transcript:

RATIGAN: Do you see direct parallels between what’s developing here and what you went through?

ELLSBURG: Yes, there does seem to be an immediate parallel between me and whoever leaked the video on the assault on the 19 or 20 Iraqis. Someone–allegedly, it was Bradley Manning–did feel that that deserved to be out. the “Reuters,” whose newspapermen were killed in the course of that, had been trying to get that through the freedom of information act for two years, as I understand it and had been refused. Let’s say whoever did it, hypothetically, Bradley Manning, showed better judgment in putting it out than the people who kept is secret from the American people and from the Iraqis.

RATIGAN: What is your sense of disclosure of information to the American people today, compared to the period of time that you lived through, where there was similar issues with, with the perception of reality of information being withheld from the public?

ELLSBURG: Look, there’s no doubt at all, that enormous amounts of energy that should be made public are being withheld and that hundreds, probably thousands of people, I’m speaking now of the run-up to the Iraq war, which has a very great similarity to the lying and the secrecy that got us into Vietnam. I think if many people had recognized that their oath of office, which called them in to support the Constitution, really contradicted their promise to keep certain secrets, when those secrets concealed lies, concealed deception to the American public and getting us into a hopeless war, they should have given priority to the oath of office and they should have put that information out to Congress and the public. They should have done what I wish I had done much earlier than I did I had been in that position, too. I knew years before the Pentagon Papers came out that the Americans were being lied in to an essentially hopeless war. I’m not proud of the fact that it didn’t occur to me that my oath of office, which was to support the Constitution, called on me to put that information out and say, ‘64, when the war might have been avoided. But I certainly am glad that I finally came aware of what my real responsibilities were there. And I did put it out years later. At times, at that time, which published it, the “Times,” and the 18 other newspapers, which defied President Nixon’s injunctions and did put it out, were in the position of Julian Assange is in now. I’m very happy that he put it out and I congratulate him for it.

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Julian, look out

Is anyone really surprised about this?

Interesting story at MSNBC covered at the blog Big Bear Observation post.  Apparently the NSA had been keeping a very long list of Americans considered to be dangerous.  About 60% of Americans must be on the list, as opposition to the War in Iraq seems to be a criteria. Gotta love the new label for those on the list: “socially dangerous”  I’d be very disappointed if I am not on that list.  

The really interesting story though will be if the Obama administration cancells this program (almost certainly they will) and if they release the list of those socially dangerous people.  The cover for not releasing the information will be that ‘they don’t want to violate the privacy’ of those wrongly accussed.  Next, will be for the list to find it’s way to wikileaks anyway.  That’s when the story will get interesting.  There could even be a fake list as part of a disinformation campaign. Next step: crowdsourcing the analysis of the different lists…all speculation for now, of course…

Continue reading “Is anyone really surprised about this?”

Is anyone really surprised about this?

Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam

An interesting post over at wikileaks, which is the United States Counter Insurgency Manual, officially the US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense. There are perhaps some other titles for this book, which is basically a HOW-TO for the institution of a fascist police state. Some excerpts suggest that the present template for success in Iraq is based on the experience in El Salvador. Of course, although the U.S. did not lose El Salvador in a straight-forward military sense, in the civil war there from 1980 to about 1992 about 70,000 civilians were killed, including Archbishop Romero and several Jesuit Priests, which e_f has covered here. So, in a moral sense, the dirty war in El Salvador did great damage to the U.S.A., but here is the proof that those in power consider a War where many innocent civilans are needlessly slaughtered as a victory. The manual advocates accusing those who oppose the regime in any way with terrorism, and immediately charging them and any of their supporters with terrorism. Unbelievable, but brought to you courtesy of Web 2.0. It also tells the U.S. military how to do those all-important things like: concealing human rights abuses from journalists. Which just leaves me asking: Who are the real terrorists?

Of course, the other question is: If this manual has been leaked, and available since at least Monday, why hasn’t it been covered by the mainstream US media yet? What’s going on here?

More and links to the manual below…

Continue reading “Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam”

Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam

Systemic Risk (Food Crisis Edition)**Updated**

The food crises is getting worse, and it could even happen that Amartya Sen’s observation that there has never been a famine in a country that had both a free press and a functioning multi-party democracy will appear to break down.

This is because the world economy exists in many places outside of either a multi-party democracy or a functioning free press, and those islands of functioning democracies with a free press may be cast about by forces that are outside of their control. These food riots have, for example, received very little press coverage in the USA. So perhaps Sen’s observation is still correct, it’s just that due to globalization it operates at a different scale. The world needs a functioning free press.

**Well, the press does seem to be taking note of the deepening crises, and I’ve added link to a CNN article that is typical of the coverage. The points are being made that this is a world wide phenomena, and that ethanol production, if not a culprit in the present round of food riots, will make the future food outlook even more grim. It should be obvious that ethanol production, to the extent it raises prices for food is deeply immoral. Furthermore, it is extremely stupid, as it gives those who are suffering, seeing their children dieing each day for want of food, a focal point for their hatred of the first world. **

Two things to be done by those who care:

  1. Derail ethanol production, which has unnecessarily linked the food economy to the oil economy; and
  2. Eat much less meat, which requires massive amounts of grain to produce equivalent amount of food protein. Beef is by far the worst offender, requiring much more grain to produce a pound of beef than a pound of chicken.

These are so extremely easy to do, but with the press shirking its basic responsibility to inform the public, can they alone be blamed for the moral failure of the West to address this crises? The press is clearly not doing its job here.

Here are the gory details:

Continue reading “Systemic Risk (Food Crisis Edition)**Updated**”

Systemic Risk (Food Crisis Edition)**Updated**

Predicting Systemic Risk (war edition)

A recent article over at Radio Netherlands cites the recent case of a computer model predicting war in the Cameroons:

Can computers predict war?

The recent outbreak of violence in Cameroon seems to come out of the blue. But in fact this instability was predicted by Monty Marshall and his colleagues at the Centre for Systemic Peace back in 2005.

Dr Marshall developed a computer model whereby he can actually predict not only where, but to a certain extent when violent conflicts will break out in the world. But even he was surprised when his model pointed to Cameroon. “When it came up with Cameroon, it was out of the blue” says Marshall. “Nothing had happened in Cameroon since independence. I thought, this is a good test of the model!”


Oil prices and democracy as conflict triggers

So what should be done with this information? Marshall’s answer reveals the connection between high energy prices and high food prices.

“The biggest issue right now is the need to develop a global energy policy… The one situation which has the greatest potential for leading into the greatest scope of armed conflict is the increasing competition for oil resources. The other issue is the shift towards greater democratisation. We’re inducing countries to take on this form of open governance without assisting them in managing the conflicts that they are likely to face while discouraging them form using the coercive option. We don’t have the will in our policies to assist them.”

Predicting Systemic Risk (war edition)

The Future CIA: You

From an old, old draft I’d started here is Eblen Moglen is giving a talk at Google and he mentions, as almost an aside, the implications of free and open source methodologies for national security, and it’s not a random or an insignificant point. (This point is made near the end of the show…but it’s a good show anyway.)

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go By Eben Moglen 27 March 2007

What does he mean? Is he crazy? No, he understands some essential processes. And now I’ve got two links that explain this further, so I don’t have to finish the post I’d started. The benefits of procrastination!

Continue reading “The Future CIA: You”

The Future CIA: You

US 193 shootdown

Thanks to wikileaks we now really know–or at the very least have a strong suspicion of–why the satellite US 193 was shot down.

Wikileaks highlights one item in their summary of the leaked powerpoint presentation:

Of particular note in the document, is the fact that along with FEMA and safety task forces, a Department of Defense “Payload Recovery Task Force” is expected to respond to the impact site approximately 3 to 6 hours after the impact. This suggests that there may be some validity to rumors that US-193 is being intercepted on national security grounds.

My comment would be that if the “payload recovery task force” will respond within 3 to 6 hours, that means it has been organized and is ready to scramble to the site of the downing. Of course, what are they concerned about? Two possibilities: some fancy imaging technology (ground penetrating radar at the top of that list), or perhaps the cryptography module, which would reveal how the satellite communicated with the ground. If that information were acquired, it is just barely conceivable that someone could acquire control over one of the other spy satellites, or eavesdrop on the communications.

US 193 shootdown